The willingness of Idaho physicians to train and educate the next generation of primary care physicians is inspiring. Research supports a strong primary care workforce improves the health of communities and the influence of early exposure to qualified family physicians leads people towards a career in primary care.
I was practicing for 10 years in Montana when the for-profit medical school approached the medical community and we recognized the 150-plus medical students per class overwhelms the medical community’s infrastructure and limited resources, which teaches medical residents and students alongside many other health care-related learners. Many Idaho physicians share these concerns about the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Currently, medical school graduates outnumber available residency slots. Therefore, we should focus on improving graduate medical education (GME), which is “residency” training. Governor Otter recognizes the importance of GME by including $2.4 million in his budget which expands resident physician training opportunities. Idaho’s solid infrastructure and teaching facilities enable collaboration alongside dedicated and effective teacher-providers. Idaho ranks in the bottom of physicians per capita and should increase GME funding to better address all Idahoan’s healthcare needs. As in Montana, a for-profit medical school is not the health care solution for Idaho at this time.
John Williams, M.D., Boise